Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 5/19/2009 3:35 AM EDT
I count Maureen Dowd as a friend. Here's a recent interview I did with her.
She is someone fiercely loyal to those she is close to so don't expect an unbiased comment from me about this latest furore over her.
She allegedly took a comment pretty much verbatim from a blogger and plonked in the middle of her column without attributing it.
You'd think from the reaction she had been found waterboarding Dick Cheney's grandkids.
Did she make anything up? No, unlike those scores of journalists who printed verbatim invented evidence about the Saddam nuclear threat prior to then Iraq war and still went on to distinguished careers.
Did she attribute the quote? No, and she should have and she has admitted that. In journalism's confessional box that's worth a very minor venial sin at best -- not the big black mortal one they are trying to hang around her neck.
Folks, as a fellah that's written a few thousand columns in my time and who teaches journalism part time I firmly believe in the old mantra-- 'if you can't say it yourself get someone who can'
The latter is when you essentially get someone to voice your own thoughts. The journalism Gods smile kindly. You can even call those the person a 'source' as in 'sources' tell irishcentral. These sources can be your mother, your barber, your butcher, whoever you can essentially get to put the words in their mouth to say what you really want to say.
A friend, a very distinguished journalist, notes that one of his sources was once called by a fact checker to see if he'd said what my friend had quoted him as saying. The guy happened to be his favorite bartender. "If he says I said it then i did," grunted the bartender... touche.
That's quite a lot of what journalism is about dear folks, rather like making sausages, you might like the end result but it's not always pretty to examine the entrails.
Maureen Dowd's oh-so-precious critics know all this full well and are just taking the opportunity to pile on America's finest ink stained wretch. Betcha a dime to a dollar they have done practically the same thing, dozens of times in their own careers.
This moral indignation and chest beating is so manufactured and overblown that it will soon pass over rather like an anal emission blown away in a hurricane. Rest assured, Maureen Dowd will see them all off the premises before long. You go, girl.